My dizzy old dog ~ By Jessie, Practice Manager

Meet Ringo (AKA Wonder Dog). He is a 14 year old Australian Cattle Dog, who has traveled the Country, mentored many a rescue pup, and is, in general, made of pure canine awesomeness.

Ringo and his head tilt

One evening a few months back, Ringo was walking down the hallway of our home and seemed to slip on the smooth floor and scramble to regain his footing. He eventually got up, seemed none the worse, and continued on his way. The next day, we were all outside and Ringo was sitting in the sun. I called all the dogs (3 and that’s another blog altogether) to come in the house, and Ringo rose, staggered sharply to his left for about 8 feet and then fell flat on his side and was unable to coordinate his body to rise without falling back over.

Welcome to Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome: sad, frightening, and unpredictable, but usually temporary and manageable.

When we talk about Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome, we can get into some very clinical data such as peripheral or central vestibular syndrome, and other neurological details, but today we are just here to talk about Ringo, and what we experienced as the family who loves him.

Once Ringo fell that afternoon, his symptoms continued to worsen for about 24 hours before he seemed to stabilize. By then he was unable to walk without falling over, was vomiting from the nausea that comes from being dizzy, had refused to eat, and had a fairly significant head tilt to the left. He went through a phase of feeling a little panicked at the loss of balance and would try to fight it by moving swiftly, only to end up falling and flailing helplessly. Even though I have seen quite a few of our canine patients suffer from this syndrome, I wasn’t fully prepared for how disturbing it would be to try and manage my own dog.

Ringo was admitted to our hospital, placed on IV fluids,  nausea medication and also received acupuncture to help with his nausea. Once he was made comfortable, we performed a thorough workup including lab work, ultrasound and an extensive physical exam. When our doctors felt confident the symptoms could be attributed to Old Dog Vestibular Disease, we decided to treat him for dehydration and nausea, keep him safe and prevent him from hurting himself (in other words, no stairs, steep inclines or uneven ground), and support his body while it rested through the syndrome. As a side note, he has always hated to be picked up or carried, but since he has never completely returned to normal (he now has a new normal), he has learned to tolerate being picked up and carried with minimal grumbling.

It is now about 4 months later. Ringo still has a slight head tilt, and his balance never returned to where it was prior to the episode. But he navigates just fine on his own, even on stairs, although he does so carefully and we avoid them when possible. His appetite is good, and in general he has a good quality of life for an old man who can’t hear or see that well.

Over the years I have told owners many times, “I know it looks dramatic, but given a chance, it usually resolves”, just hang in there”. In the future, I’ll offer the same sincere words, along with a personal story about my dizzy old dog.

For more information of this syndrome click HERE

Got Ticks?

Ticks: Arthropod Parasitesticks 2015

Until recently, ticks were rarely seen on our patients at Oswego Veterinary Hospital unless they had traveled to tick heavy regions such as the Columbia River gorge, southern Oregon, or Northern California.  This year, 2015, we are seeing a significantly higher number of ticks in our patients who haven’t even left Lake Oswego.  This increase in tick exposure is thought to be due to the increasingly warmer, drier weather trends.

Ticks are skin parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts.  Ticks like motion, warm temperatures from body heat, and the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals, which is why they are attracted to such hosts as dogs, cats, rodents, rabbits, cattle, small mammals, etc.  The bite itself is not usually painful, but the parasite can transmit multiple diseases.   It takes several hours for an attached tick to transmit disease, so owners can usually prevent disease transmission to their pets by following a regular schedule to look for and remove ticks.

Most types of ticks require three hosts during a two-year lifespan – each tick stage requires a blood meal before it can reach the next stage.  Hard ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.  Larvae and nymphs must feed before they detach and molt.  Adult female ticks can engorge, increasing their weight by more than 100 fold.

During the egg-laying stage, ticks lay eggs in secluded areas with dense vegetation.  The eggs hatch within two weeks.  Some species of ticks lay 100 eggs at a time, others lay 3,000 to 6,000 per batch.  Once the eggs hatch, the ticks are in the larval stage, during which time the larvae move into grass and search for their first blood meal.  At this stage, they will attach themselves for several days to their first host, usually a bird or rodent, and then fall onto the ground.  The nymph stage begins after the first blood meal is completed.  Nymphs remain inactive during winter and start moving again in spring.  Nymphs find a host, usually a rodent, pet, or human.  Nymphs are generally about the size of a freckle. After this blood meal, ticks fall off the host and move into the adult stage. Throughout the autumn, male and female adults find a host, which is again usually a rodent, pet, or human.  The adult female feeds for 8 to 12 days.  The female mates while still attached to her host.  Both ticks fall off, and the males die.  The female remains inactive through the winter and in the spring lays her eggs in a secluded place.  If adults cannot find a host animal in the fall, they can survive in leaf litter until the spring.

What are the best ways to deal with these blood-sucking parasites?

Environmental Control

Treating the yard and outdoor kennel area with a tick spray can be an important tool in the arsenal against ticks. During prime tick months in the summer, spraying may be necessary every 1 to 2 weeks.

If ticks are indoors, flea and tick foggers, sprays, or powders can be used. Inside, ticks typically crawl (they don’t jump) up and may be in cracks around windows and doors. A one-foot barrier of insecticide, where the carpeting and wall meet, can help with tick control.

Prevent Ticks from Attaching

There are over 15 products currently marketed for tick control in dogs and cats.  Please consult with your veterinarian as to which product might be safest and most effective for your pets based on their health, lifestyle, and number/type of pets in your household.  For pets already on a flea/heartworm product, most tick products are safe to give as long as they are different types of insecticides.  Two different tick products should never be used at the same time.  Some of the products we carry either in the clinic or on our online store are summarized here:


  • Frontline (fipronil) is a liquid applied to the skin between a dog’s shoulders that discourages ticks from staying or implanting. This product lasts a month, also kills fleas and comes in dog and cat doses.
  • Revolution (selamectin) is labeled for one kind of tick.
  • (Advantix works great for dogs but can be fatal to cats, so should not be used in any household that has cats, or on dogs that may be around cats. For this reason, we do not carry it or recommend using)


  • Preventic collar (Amitraz)– DOGS ONLY over 12 weeks of age. Provides up to 90 days of protection against all types of ticks (not fleas). It is water resistant but should be removed for bathing.  Reaches maximum effect in less than 24 hours.
  • Seresto collar (Imidacloprid and Flumethrin) – DOGS AND CATS. Provides up to 8 months of tick and flea protection.  Does not need to be removed for bathing but more than once monthly baths will reduce effectiveness to 5 months.  Reaches maximum effect in 48 hours.
  • Scalibor collar (Deltamethrin) – DOGS ONLY over 12 weeks of age. Provides up to 6 months of tick protection.  Also kills fleas and repels flies and mosquitoes.  Takes 2-3 weeks to reach maximum effect.


  • Bravecto (Flurolaner) – DOGS ONLY over 6 months of age. Provides up to 90 days of protection against ticks and fleas. Maximum effect for fleas is 8 hours, ticks 48 hours.
  • Nexgard (Afoxolaner) – DOGS ONLY over 8 weeks of age.  Provides up to 30 days of protection against ticks and fleas.  Maximum effect for fleas is 8 hours, ticks 48 hours.  (This is not currently available on our online store, but Bravecto is)

Flea combs can be used to help remove ticks. Wash your pet’s bed frequently.

Some people use a topical spray, but don’t realize they should not use more than one insecticide or repellent.  Doubling the amount of anti-tick product, or using two at once, may cause toxicity problems.  DEET, found in many over-the-counter insecticides, is toxic to pets.  Any spray insecticide labeled for use on clothing should not be sprayed directly on pets.

Find and Remove the Ticks

The best way to find ticks on your pet is to run your hands over the whole body.  Check for ticks every time your pet comes back from an area you know is inhabited by ticks.  Ticks attach most frequently around the pet’s head, ears, neck, and feet, but are by no means restricted to those areas.

The safest way to remove a tick is to use rubbing alcohol and a pair of tweezers.  Dab rubbing alcohol on the tick, and then use the tweezers to take hold of the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can; pull slowly and steadily.  Try not to leave the tick’s head embedded in the dog’s skin.  Don’t squeeze the tick because it might inject some disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or other agents, into the animal during the process.  Risk of disease transmission to you, while removing ticks, is low but you should wear gloves if you wish to be perfectly safe. Do not apply hot matches, petroleum jelly, turpentine, nail polish, or just rubbing alcohol alone (the tick must be pulled out after application of alcohol) because these methods do not remove the ticks and they are not safe for your pet.

Once you have removed a live tick, don’t dispose of it until you have killed it.  Put the tick in alcohol or insecticide to kill it.

Watch/Test for Infection and Diseases

After you pull a tick off, there will be a local area of inflammation that could look red, crusty, or scabby. The tick’s attachment causes irritation.  The site can get infected; if the pet is scratching at it, it is more apt to get infected.  A mild antibiotic, such as over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment can help, but usually is not necessary. The inflammation should go down within a week. If it stays crusty and inflamed longer than a week, it might have become infected and you should call your veterinarian.

Ticks can contract disease from a previous host that can then be transmitted to pets and humans.  Ticks can parasitize many different mammal species, birds, and reptiles.  Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis are probably the most common diseases transmitted by ticks on the west coast.  Ehrilichiosis is a rickettsial disease, and its progression from an acute to a chronic stage can be prevented by early treatment.  Babesiosis is a tick borne disease that causes red blood cell destruction and anemia in cats.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most prevalent rickettsial disease in humans.

Since ticks are just recently becoming more prevalent in the Portland area, we do not yet know the incidence of disease they may carry.  For this reason, if you find a tick on your pet we are now recommending that you schedule an appointment to test your pet for Lyme disease and ehrichiosis 2 months later so that if your pet does have this disease, we can institute treatment before they become symptomatic. 

While ticks can transmit diseases, they are usually nothing more than a nuisance.  The best approach is to prevent them from embedding, and once embedded, to remove them quickly.  As long as you stay on top of the situation, your pets should cruise right through the tick season with no problems.

Adapted from Veterinary Partner article, Authored by: Becky Lundgren, DVM

A Sunday filled with all things cat – by Briana, Client Care Coordinator and cat mom.

On Sunday, April 19th most Portlanders were probably outside enjoying the uncharacteristically warm weather, perhaps cheerfully discussing the drought over locally distilled spirits.  I, on the other hand, spent the day indoors along with several of my co-workers, and many local veterinary professionals attending the PVMA’s 2015 symposium on… *drum-roll please*… Cats!

Several well known veterinarians from the around the Country presented topics pertinent to the internet sensations and their well being both at home and in the clinic.  What I heard there helped me to better understand my own quirky kitties, and reinforced what I’ve been slowly learning over the past year.

Wesley and Molly - almost chummy!
Wesley and Molly – who here is really giving the kitty “stink eye”….

During Spring break of 2014 my boyfriend and I brought home a second rescue cat; an awesome little dude we call Wesley.  It’s a familiar story; we just wanted to look at the cats up for adoption…. but he was a charmer.  We convinced ourselves that our cat Molly (a sheltered Siamese) would eventually appreciate the company and everything would be peachy keen in like 2 months.  Our assumptions were incorrect; Molly did not share our assessment of him and integration has been a project, the first 8 months of which was chaos.  But, after a lot of trial and error, we’ve found some solutions that work well for both us and the cats.

The most valuable idea I took away from the symposium coincides well with my own recent experiences, and can be summed up into two words: Environmental enrichment.

It helps to think of your home as a zoo (perhaps not too difficult to imagine), and of your cats as the wild critters they truly are.  In captivity, our cats are restricted to an area that is a mere fraction of their natural home range – add another kitty to the picture and you’ve got some serious competition on your hands.  As both a predator and prey species whose primary enemies include primates and canids (yup, that’s you and Fido), your kitty’s position in the food chain can vary drastically from one second to the next.  Cats are wired to be acutely aware of their surroundings at all times – a change that seems minimal to us, such as a new food dish, may be initially perceived as a threat by your cat (often with video-worthy results).  On the other hand, the addition of a high perch can also make the difference between a fearful feline and a confident cat. For these reasons, it is important to pay special consideration to your kitties habitat.

With the addition of Wesley the last year has been a long balancing act of minimizing territorial disputes while optimizing space in our apartment.  Our furniture collection has expanded to include three tall cat trees (boosts kitty confidence and makes use of vertical space), a fancy water fountain, an additional litter box, and we started using puzzle feeders so they have to “hunt” at mealtime.  My cats’ interactions have improved greatly just in the last few months since our efforts to enrich their house (honestly, it really belongs to them) really took off – they play together and sometimes even show signs of affection in the general direction of each other.  Our next big project is to make interactive play time a part of our daily routine.

This might all sound like a lot of work, but it’s been quite fun and incredibly rewarding to see some of their more destructive behaviors transformed into appropriate kitty play; all we had to do was provide the right tools for them.  And you don’t need to spend a fortune either, pretty much everything your cat wants in life is a cheap DIY project; in the case of the empty grocery bag no assembly is required.

Our team embraces a kind and understanding approach to feline care, and this symposium confirmed that we were on the right track. The symposium was also great personal resource for me, and there’s boundless information on the web to help you better understand your cat as well.  For starters, check out the Indoor Pet Initiative (, an ongoing project of Ohio State University’s Veterinary College.  Also, have you checked out our previous posting on Catios??

Ultrasound, a window into your pet – by Kathy Sandifer DVM

Oswego Veterinary Hospital now offers ultrasound evaluation for our patients. Ultrasound is a pain free, noninvasive procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to produce a real-time moving image of your pet’s internal organs. The procedure allows our veterinarians to achieve a greater depth of detail that often complements information obtained from X-ray examinations. We are able to ultrasound the urinary tract, the abdomen, and also provide ultrasound-guided biopsies. Cardiac ultrasounds are performed by Dr Rausch, a board certified cardiologist who comes to our clinic on a regular basis.

Ultrasound is very useful to evaluate the bladder and kidneys. If a patient is experiencing frequent or inappropriate urination, bloody urine or signs of kidney disease, ultrasound can be used to identify stones, cystitis, cancer and a number of kidney problems. It can be used in sick or fragile patients when general anesthesia may be a risk.

Abdominal ultrasound allows full examination of your pet’s liver, gallbladder, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys, urinary bladder, and parts of the stomach and intestines. Ultrasound examination of these organs is crucial when a diagnosis depends upon seeing inside an organ, or when surgery or anesthesia would not be desirable. Abdominal ultrasound has become standard protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases, pancreatitis, and many types of cancer.

Using the ultrasound image as a guide, surgical biopsies can be obtained without major surgery and your pet can often go home the same day. An ultrasound is typically performed after blood tests, X-rays, and a physical examination indicates an underlying problem. Ultrasounds are typically not stressful for your pet and take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to perform. Everyone here at OVH is pleased and excited to be able to offer ultrasound examinations as part of our goal to keep your pet healthy.

Below is an ultrasound image of a bladder mass (tumor), on a sweet Scottie dog. The ultrasound technology enabled us to quickly and comfortably confirm the mass, and measure it, which will enable us to track how aggressive the mass is growing in future ultrasounds.

                                                       Click on image to enlargeBladder Mass

Boarding Tips For Pets – by Kat, Kennel Manager

boarding tips for pets

Let’s face it, most pets and their people don’t get excited about a boarding stay. However, with some helpful tips you can ensure that their stay is as comfortable and stress free as possible. Who knows, maybe after a few visits a boarding stay with us can be the next best thing to home.  Continue reading “Boarding Tips For Pets – by Kat, Kennel Manager”

New Product: Synovi G4


You may have noticed a new product on our lobby shelves. We have transitioned from the S3 chews to the Synovi G4 recently. As alway we are committed to your pet’s care and have provided some common questions and answers below to let you know why we feel this change is important to your dog’s health. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding Synovi G4 let us know and we will be happy to address your concerns.

What is G4?
This is not your mother’s glucosamine! G4 is a full spectrum joint supplement that targets inflammatory responders, offers synovial support and provides antioxidants. With the addition of natural, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Boswellia and Tumeric, the updated formula intends to strengthen joint cartilage, function and flexibility.

How long until visible improvement?
In most cases owners have been seeing an improvement in their pet’s mobility in 7-10 days. Even if you do not see immediate change in your pet’s mobility G4 is recommended as maintenance supplement aiding in slowing down the progression of arthritis.

In what form is G4 available?
G4 will only be available in chew form. Bayer guarantees that your dog will find G4 chews palatable or you can return it for a full refund.

My dog has food allergies, is G4 hypoallergenic?
Not at this time. The chews are chicken flavored but Bayer is working on a hypoallergenic version.

Did I just hear you say rewards program?
Um, no. But, yes G4 is part of the Bayer purchase-reward program. Buy 5 containers of G4 joint supplement and the 6th is free! Let one of our awesome client care coordinators know if you would like a punch card.